Trials and Tribulations.

He tapped his fingers on the keyboard, staring at the crack in the wall. “Aaaany day now,” he said, his voice fettered with sarcasm. “Any moment now, an idea is going to jump right out into these fingers, and I’ll write something. It won’t be good, but, it’ll be something.”

The sun had begun it’s rise, peeking through his back window and just barely catching his eye. He felt as though it was a death ray, piercing through to his soul, sending him crashing from his desk. He wiggled and shook, every last synapse firing, his eyes squeezing shut with tremendous might. He felt the presence of someone else then, and opened his left eye.

“Another seizure, Captain Stupid?” his Wife asked. The Writer sighed and stood up, avoiding the beams from the sun this time.

“No one understands the creative process,” the Writer sighed.

“Frying like bacon is creative?”

“In some circles, yes.”

“In your circle?”

He furrowed his brow and stuck his tongue out at her. She smiled smugly and walked out of the room. “I’m going to work now. Love you.”

“I’m not sure I still love you after that pithy remark, Madam,” he shouted after her. She shrugged and walked without turning around, opening the door to the garage and leaving.

He sat down in front of his computer again, the cursor blinking, tauntingly. “Screw you, cursor. At least you know what you have to do. Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink. Shut up.”

“Blink. Blink. Blink. Fuck you. Blink.” said the cursor.

“HEY!” he said, standing and pointing at the cursor.”

“Blink. Blink.” the cursor replied.

The writer pointed harder, and followed it up with a defeated “Gaahhhh!”

“Blink. Asshole. Blink.” the cursor taunted.

“Oh, fuck you, too.” The writer retorted, picking up the phone and dialing his wife. The phone rang twice before she answered.

“If you’re choking on your tongue, you didn’t dial 9-1-1.”

“Ha. Ha. Funny.”

“I thought so.”

Silence. Normally they were comfortable in silence. When they met, they were silent for hours while they stared into each other’s eyes. Now, it was uncomfortable. Nervous, even.

“What do you want?” she asked.

“You know I was kidding about the I don’t know if I love you anymore thing, right?” he asked, nervously. More silence.

“Are you serious?” she asked.

“Are we playing the question game?” he replied.

“Do you want to play the question game?”

“Do YOU want to play the question game?”

“Did you know you just lost because you asked the same question I did?”

“Did you know that it’s not because I said it in English, translated from Russian?”

“Did you know that you’re a moron, and of course I know you were kidding?” she said.

“Yes, I did. I love you.”

“I love you. You and your big stupidhe-”

“My stupid head?”

Silence.

“My stupid head?”

Silence, only louder still.

“Don’t give me the silent treatment. I hate the silent treatment.” He hated the silent treatment and how easy it worked on him. How frantic he got, how hard it was to be the one who got the last word or action in. And there, on the other end: Silence.

He looked at the phone and choked it, before putting the receiver back to his ear. “Hello?! Hello? Damnit!

On the other end of the phone, there would be no reply. His Wife, the one woman who loved him more than any other, the one woman who would put up with his nonsense, sit on the side of the road, gasping for air, looking around frantically for help as the police officer approached the side of her car.

“Any idea how fast you were going, ma’am?”

One Word

Thanks to Dan, here’s a writing game that’s pretty darn fun courtesy of One Word. You have one word, and write about it for sixty seconds. I don’t like it, but, I’m not going to like everything I write.

Our route through Cleveland took us around the city. No one actually went into town anymore, since the entirety of Cleveland was more or less it’s suburbs, and nothing else.

I watched it approach and seconds later, disappear in the mirror. I wasn’t sorry to see it go. My route took me through Chicago now.

Untitled 20 Dec 2010

“It’s all your fault,” she said, voice quivering, tears streaming from her tiny eyes. There at her feet lay a vanilla ice cream cone, melting in the July sun.

He postured, instinctively defiant. Had she been older than four, he’d have chastized her about being more careful, about carrying things with two hands when they’re heavy. He’d have told her that it wasn’t his fault, it was never his fault; it was her fault, always her fault. And then he’d laugh as she cried harder.

But, he just couldn’t bring himself to make her cry. Her eyes — big, brown and shiny pools with a starburst of hazel from the pupil — always had this effect on him. He melted to her whim, and before he knew it, his hand extended; the hand holding his ice cream cone, bigger than her original one. His double scoop vanilla, double dipped in chocolate and sprinkles. His special, his favorite. She wiped her eyes and smiled through her tears, her face lit up with anticipation as she took hold of the cone.

“I’ll be extra careful next time.”

Fleeting.

He wasn’t looking for her and yet, In the moment their eyes met, they’d had their first date, their second date. They met and loved family, were married, had children and grown old together, he dying before her, she unable to live without him deteriorated quickly and passed soon after. He knew he had to say hello, he knew he’d never have another chance, and through the crowded room, he moved toward her.

He never found her, though he found other fleeting glances all the same. None matched that moment again.

Untitled Pulp Story

The bullet sounded through the air, followed by a second. The first echoed with a tell-tale ping, bouncing off some unsuspecting wall, and into oblivion. The second pierced his flesh, just above the kneecap. Detective Tommy Kimball winced and hit the ground, holding his leg. He grunted softly in the face of the pain — he’d wanted to scream to the heavens, but, the tough guy inside him smashed the little boy years ago. His head stayed level, as he drew his .38 again, looking for Elwick.

The crime had long been solved. Elwick von der Waal, the young and princely heir to the Daily Rag fortune had long dabbled in criminal enterprise, this time kidnapping the beautiful Faith Flanagan, a lounge singer and waitress. She’d been missing two weeks, the world taking an interest in her, the story featured prominenty with information in the Daily Rag, things even the police didn’t know being told in each story, all written by the Prince of Monrovia.

Elwick wasn’t an intelligent man, though he was savy with his words, and casual with his money. He’d bought himself out of every courtroom he’d been in, and carried most judges on his personal payroll. Cops loved the guy, too. High stakes busts featured prominent photos of the police officer who made the arrest on the front page of the Daily Rag, Monrovia’s largest (and only) daily newspaper. Elwick personally thanked each of them, posed with a picture, and thanked them for keeping the city clean. He’d shake their hand, usually with a few bills wrapped and hidden in his hand.

Tommy Kimball, however, was no friend of Elwick’s. A former cop himself, and a sureshot for Captain, he ended up shooting an eight year-old girl during a chase, killing her. Kimball thought it was an accident, and swore his innocence. The rest of the world saw a cop shoot an eight year-old, and turned on him.

Gone was the smiling friend of the masses. For months, people would spit on Tommy as he walked the streets after his release from prison. Old women beat him with purses heavier than anvils, and twice the size. Men who wanted to prove their manhood would beat up the drunken Tommy Kimball, as he took each shot as his justice, his penance to a city he’d somehow wronged.

The laugh of Elwick van der Waal rang through the empty street, the ever present steam and smoke billowing through street level vents. The streetlights cast a bluish-white light on everything, casting large shadows. Bleary eyed from the flask of whiskey he’d taken down moments before, Kimball aimed into the smoke, and shot three times, the laugh growing louder. Three more shots, and the laugh stopped after the second.

Kimball blinked, incredulously. Had he shot him? No, he couldn’t have. He tried to stand, but, his leg betrayed him, sending him to the ground, and into the street gutter.

The laugh started again, louder — closer.

“I wasn’t going to kill her, Kimball!” the slightly accented voice of van der Waal said, in his sing-song manner. His voice was golden, crisp and alluring, and his annunciation was perfect, aside from his slight Dutch accent. “I was simply giving the world something to believe in. Just like I did with you.”

Elwick emerged from the smoke, a silver snubnosed .38 extended. His suit was polished and remarkable, the tie straight with the gig line of his body, bisecting him perfectly. His silver glasses glinted off the street lights, as he laughed again, Kimball looking at him, rage building.

“Oh, sure. I helped the world believe that you’d killed that girl. And you deserved it, too! Of all the cops, you’re the only one I couldn’t buy. I had to eliminate you, and I did. You’re tougher than I’d thought though, Kimball. I didn’t expect you to last a week, and eight years later, here you are. You’re drunk, and a fool, but, you’re still alive. Though, I intend to change that in moments.

“I want you to know that Faith called for you, every moment. She missed you — She’s the only one who stuck by you through all of this. Did you really think she was a random target?” Tommy Kimball raised his gun, and aimed at center mass, tears streaming from his eyes. The hammer cocked and clicked three times, each firing an empty chamber. “You wasted your shots, Kimball! Now, it’s my turn! Time to meet your maker! And tell Faith hello when you get there!”

The steam moved toward the two, Elwick standing in the center of the deserted street, Kimball firing his gun still, hoping that there was a seventh bullet in there, somewhere.

The garbage truck that sped down the street, slamming into Elwick milliseconds before he tried to pull the trigger was unexpected and welcomed. It swerved into a building, crushing the Prince of Monrovia under the weight of it’s load. Kimball blinked as Faith emerged from behind the wheel. His heart filled with joy and love and satisifaction and completion as she ran to him, embracing him. He kissed her, full on the lips, before looking up, and shaking his head.

“Told ya, toots. That’s why dames shouldn’t drive.”

He’d never return to the force, but, he didn’t care. The world rejected him, and hated him for a crime he didn’t commit. In spite of that, in this crazy mixed up world, he had Faith. And faith.